Swimming: Murphy setting new benchmark
GRAINNE MURPHY has raised the bar to a level that others in Irish swimming need to follow, according to Swim Ireland's high performance director, Peter Banks.
Murphy claimed Ireland's first medal since Michelle De Bruin medalled at the European Championships in Seville 13 years ago when she won silver in the 1,500m freestyle in 16:02.29 at the European Long Course Championships in Budapest on Saturday night.
“I've had an amazing week, I've been delighted with all my performances and to get a silver medal is amazing,” said the 17-year-old Wexford star, who ended her campaign by finishing 12th overall in the 400m freestyle heats.
“I haven't been focusing on the 400m but I'm really happy with that performance. I was quite tired from the 1,500m. It was great for me to have my family there to see me get the silver and to get messages of support from the President and the sports minister.”
Banks, pleased with the overall performance by the Irish team in Budapest, now wants others to step up and deliver at major championships in the lead up to London 2012.
Banks said: “I think many swimmers can now learn from Grainne, they can look and see what she is doing, how she is working and the dedication she brings to training.
“Grainne's performance in the 1,500m freestyle was just amazing and she is now a world-class athlete. She now lies eighth in the world in the 800m freestyle and second fastest in the world in the 1,500m freestyle.
“Looking ahead to the Olympics, this is something that she and others can build on. Everybody has to make surethey are on the right programme, to deliver the right results at major meets.
“Our goal has always been to have six Olympic ‘A’ qualifiers and to have a finalist and we still continue to work towards that goal, we’re not going to change that goal.”
Murphy's coach, Ronald Claes, admitted that even he had been a little surprised with how quickly Murphy transferred her junior glory – three golds and a bronze last year – into senior success.
“Generally, it always takes two years to move from the juniors to the seniors so she's surprised me a little bit, she's got the medal a year earlier than I thought but she's always giving me more,” he said.
“She's a very special competitor and I saw that from the moment I came to Ireland. She could have taken her foot off the gas after the junior the success but we have worked even harder and, with her school letting her do the leaving cert over two years it has been a big help. She has been able to do the work and have the rest she needs.”